How Often Must A Competent Person Inspect The Scaffold? A Brief Guide To Scaffold Inspections

May 20, 2021 2:42 pm Published by

Irrespective of programme duration, scaffolding safety is an on-going effort. How often should scaffolding be inspected? Who should do it? And what’s the ideal procedure? Read on to find out.

How Often Does Scaffolding Need To Be Inspected?

Scaffolding must be thoroughly inspected prior to its first use.

The Work at Height Regulations (2005) is a Statutory Instrument enshrined in UK law and defines the frequency of Scaffolding inspections in Regulation 12 and the particulars to be recorded in Schedule 7.

They stipulate that scaffolding must be inspected every seven days as minimum, and each time when exceptional circumstances, which are liable to jeopardise the safety of the work equipment have occurred i.e., weather events such as strong wind, snow and ice, or heavy rain.  

Extended work shutdowns i.e., the construction Winter Holiday when sites may have been closed for extended periods, scaffolding inspection intervals may have exceeded 7 days.  Therefore, the scaffolding must be inspected by a suitably competent person before the scaffolding is put back into use.

What Is Being Looked For During An Inspection?

The primary aim of scaffolding inspections is to detect any defects or risks, such as deterioration, before they become a health and safety hazard. The inspector will examine the structural integrity of the scaffold to establish it is still compliant with the safety principles of the original design. Key elements such as the security of fittings, condition of the foundation and safety of the boarded lifts would be included in the Statutory Inspection process.

Who Carries Out A Scaffolding Inspection?

The legislation states an inspection is to be carried out by a ‘suitably competent person’. Subject to the complexity of the scaffolding, it is generally recognised as proof of competence, Basic scaffolding can be inspected by a Scaffolder or the holder of a CISRS Basic Scaffolding Inspector Training certificate.

Designed Scaffolding by an Advanced Scaffolder or the holder of a CISRS Advanced Scaffolding Inspector Training certificate.

CISRS qualifications have to be regularly updated in order to reflect the latest guidance, legislation and good practice.  To ensure objectivity and accuracy, the scaffold user may specify that individuals carrying out the inspection should not have worked on the scaffolding themselves.

How Is The Inspection Recorded?

The inspector is required to produce a report outlining the results. Schedule 7 of the WHR specifies what must be recorded and include, the time, date, and location of the inspection, as well as a description of any faults (matters identified that could give rise to a risk). The report also needs to outline any action taken as a result of detected faults, and an action plan for issues that have not been immediately resolved. Records must be stored on-site so that they are easily accessible in the event of an accident and must be kept for three months after the project has been completed.

It is good practice for a Handover Certificate to be issued for each scaffold and to be Tagged to identify the purpose and the load class.  The tag can also be used to record the date of each inspection.

Can You Speed Up The Inspection Process?

When it comes to health and safety, it’s never a good idea to rush. However, as inspections are often time-consuming, it’s worthwhile using the most efficient strategies available. Cloud-based software enables the quick scanning of tags and creates a complete record of previous inspections. A cloud-based approach enables responsible persons and interested parties to review the inspection history and current inspection status when making an assessment of the safety of the scaffolding.

Safety And Compliance First

Scaffolding is an increasingly safe environment in which to work, and that is due in a large part to rigorous inspectoral routines. These need to be carried out by someone with the correct certifications, and need to be precise, detailed, and thorough. At Magnum Scaffolding, our experienced team are able to carry out inspections using the latest software. For more information about ensuring that your scaffolding is legally compliant, have a chat with one of our inspections team today.   

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This post was written by Magnum Scaffolding